Oklahoma Recount Laws

This information was updated February 21, 2020.

The Oklahoma Statutes (OK Stat) are available to view by Title here.  Most statutes below refer to Title 26. The Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) for the State Election Board is available here.

Voting System Used: 

Paper ballot  (hand marked paper ballots, DREs for accessibility without VVPAT)

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Counting Method : 

Mix of hand count and retabulation
Counting method chosen by initiator

Voters and candidates may request that ballots be recounted by hand. If they provide no preference regarding the counting method, ballots will be retabulated. OK Stat § 26-8-111(A)(3). “When a recount is initiated, all ballots in the precinct involved must be counted.” OK Stat § 26-8-116.1.  See OK Stat § 26-8-114 for counting procedures in a recount. See also OAC 230-45-5 "Instructions for counters for manual recount," and OAC 230-45-3-53 "Instructions for electronic recount."

Initiating Mechanisms: 

Candidate-initiated
Voter-initiated
Election official-initiated

Election Official-Initiated Recounts:
Election officials may retabulate ballots on election night, but only under certain circumstances. The circumstances include a finding that the number of ballots cast does not match the number voters who voted by 2% or more, a machine malfunction that produces a blank or illegible results tape, or the failure of election workers to process emergency ballots through the precinct scanner before issuing final precinct results. In addition, a recount may be conducted in the precinct on election night if the Secretary of the County Election Board is directed by the State Election Board to conduct an election night recount of all ballots cast at a precinct polling place in order to resolve an unanticipated problem.  In each such case, election officials may retabulate the ballots on election night. OK Stat § 26-7-134.1 and OAC 230:35-3-85.1(a).

Timing: OK Stat § 26-7-134.1 and OAC 230:35-3-85.1(a).

Candidate-Initiated Options : 

Candidate determines how many/which precincts to recount

Any candidate whose name was printed on the ballot in an election for office may request a recount of that election. OK Stat § 26-8-111(A)(7).  The candidate “must set forth in the petition the precincts and absentee ballots which are to be recounted” and may indicate that the candidate “desires to have the ballots recounted manually.”  If the candidate does not request a manual count, the recount will be conducted by retabulation. OK Stat § 26-8-111 (A)(1) & (A)(3).

Timing: OK Stat § 26-8-111(A)(8).

Voter-Initiated Options: 

Close vote margin required
Voters determine how many/which precincts to recount
Voters may request recounts for initiatives/questions

For a voter to initiate a recount on an issue or question, the election results must fall within a specified close vote margin.  In addition, a petition bearing the signatures of registered voters who participated in the election is required.  OK Stat § 26-8-111(B)(1) and (B)(2).

The statute also distinguishes between those issues and questions requiring a simple majority to be passed and those requiring more than a simple majority. For those requiring a simple majority, the margin is to be calculated as the difference between the votes cast for and against the issue. OK Stat § 26-8-111(B)(1) & (B)(2).  For those requiring more than a simple majority, the margin is to be calculated as the difference between the votes cast for the issue and the number of votes required for the issue to be approved. OK Stat § 26-8-111(C)(1) & (C)(2).

Recounts are not allowed for statewide issues or questions. OK Stat § 26-8-111(E). Recounts are allowed on questions for “counties, municipalities, school districts and any other entity authorized to call elections.....”  OAC 230:45-3-34.   Voters requesting a recount may do so for all counties in which the issue is on the ballot, or they may select particular counties. However, for each county selected, “All ballots, including absentee ballots and any counted provisional ballots, cast in the election in the county shall be recounted.” OAC 230:45-3-39.

Timing: OK Stat § 26-8-111(D).

Cost for Candidate-Initiated Recounts: 

Initiator pays set or per jurisdiction fee
Initiator pays deposit or bond before recount
Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

The costs to a candidate initiating a recount depends on the counting method requested. The cost for retabulation conducted by voting machine is $600 per county. OK Stat § 26-8-111(A)(2).  The cost for a recount conducted by hand is $600 for the first 3,000 ballots to be counted, and $600 for each additional 6,000 ballots, or fraction thereof, per county.  OK Stat § 26-8-111(A)(4).  Requests for both retabulations and hand recounts for statewide offices (all those filed with the State Election Board) must include an additional $300 beyond the amounts listed above.  OK Stat § 26-8-111(A)(5).

When the margin between the first and second-place candidates is large, 10% or more in an election involving two candidates, an additional deposit is required. Primaries with three or more candidates that may involve a runoff primary have different provisions. OK Stat § 26-8-111(A)(6).   If the recount changes the outcome of the election, all fees paid are refunded to the candidate.  In some cases, where the deposits are in excess of the costs of the recount, there may be a refund to the petitioner even is the outcome does not change. OK Stat § 26-8-117.

Cost for Voter-Initiated Recounts: 

Initiator pays set or per jurisdiction fee
Initiator pays deposit or bond before recount
Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

The cost charged to a voter initiating a recount depends on the counting method that they request: The cost for retabulation conducted by machine is $600 per county. OK Stat § 26-8-111(A)(2).  The cost for a recount conducted by hand is $600 for the first 3,000 ballots to be counted, and $600 for each additional 6,000 ballots, or fraction thereof, per county. OK Stat § 26-8-111(A)(4).  If the recount changes the outcome of the ballot question, all fees paid are to be refunded. OK Stat § 2-8-117.

Challengers and Observers : 

Statutes specify that recounts must be public.
Party/candidate or initiator has statutory authority to appoint challengers
No statutory guidance for recount observers

Recounts are open to the public. "Whenever the County Election Board meets to conduct a recount, that meeting is covered by the guidelines listed in the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act." OAC 230-45-3-16.  OK Stat §§ 25-301 to 307.

Recount petitioners are entitled to appoint a “watcher” at each counting location during a recount. OK Stat § 26-8-114(A) & (B).  In the case of recounts conducted by retabulation, the “watcher shall be limited to a challenge, in writing, of any action taken by operators of the voting devices.”  OK Stat § 26-8-114(A).  In the case of recounts conducted manually, the “watcher shall be limited to a challenge, in writing, of any decision made by the counters with regard to counting of a ballot.” OK Stat § 26-8-114(B). 

Rules for Determining Voter Intent: 

Statutory guidance provided
Secretary of State or Election Board responsible for defining intent

The statute referencing voter intent applies to both counting and recounting votes. OK Stat § 26-7-127.  See also the administrative rule OAC 230:45-5-19.

State Has Audit Laws: 
No
Revision Notes: 

This information was updated 2/21/2020 using the Oklahoma Statutes (OK Stat) updated to 11/7/2019, and using the Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) updated to 1/15/2020.